Experience could hold the key as Wath eye Twickenham win

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The experience of a day out at Twickenham for amateur rugby players was best summed up by Wath forward Joseph Earp this week.

“I can’t wait to run out at the home of our national team with my best mates,” mused the Rotherham club’s blindside flanker.

Days like these are moments rugby players take to the grave.

For most they come along once in a lifetime – although Wath boast a handful of players who have already played on English rugby’s hallowed turf. Those with experience of Twickenham have already helped transform Wath from a yo-yo club between Yorkshire Divisions Three and Four, to an outfit on the verge of a second successive promotion.

That can be achieved next week when victory at West Park Leeds will see them climb above Bradford Salem into Yorkshire Two’s second promotion position.

Such an upward trajectory is encouraging, and has been brought about by the return of a number of players who moved away from the village to go to university or pursue other avenues.

They have returned wiser and better players.

Scrum-half Joe Bartlett and lock Richard Hill won the EDF competition with Halifax and the latter has also played at Twickenham with Yorkshire Seniors in the national county competition.

Prop Dean Hardcastle was capped five times by England Under-21s and has played twice at Twickenham. Fly-half Martyn Bray was also capped by England Under-18s.

Such progress on the pitch merits a major national trophy to accompany it.

And for all their league success, it is the outcome of the trip to Twickenham that will be recounted in years to come at their Moor Road clubhouse.

Wath upon Dearne is the very epitome of the community club, regularly fielding four senior teams with a thriving junior boys and girls section to boot.

The success of their flagship first team will only enhance the mood around the place.

“We won the Yorkshire Silver Trophy and secured promotion last year and thought that would take some beating, but it looks like we have,” said head coach Lee Bird.

“Once we got invited into this competition at the start of the season we decided straight away – everyone from players to committee members – that we would go full out to win it.

“And we showed our determination in the semi-final win over Stourbridge (52-7) how hungry we were for the success with a first-half performance that is the best we have produced for many a year.”

Today’s opponents Wells of Somerset are coached by former England Womens head coach Pete Kennedy.

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